Plan B for Airbus A350 XWB batteries


Airbus has, temporarily, put aside lithium ion batteries for its A350 XWB aircraft in favour of nickel cadmium main batteries.

This is to ensure the entry into service schedule of the wing-engined jetliner is not affected.

In a statement the company said it was confident the lithium ion main battery architecture it is developing in conjunction with Saft is “robust and safe”.
“As the root causes of recent industry lithium main battery incidents remain unexplained to the best of our knowledge and with a view to ensuring the highest levels of programme certainty Airbus has decided to activate plan B,” it said.
“The proven nickel cadmium main batteries will be utilised for the A350 XWB programme at entry into service. Airbus considers this to be the most appropriate way forward in the interests of programme execution and aircraft reliability.”

This move should see test flights of A350-900 XWB MSN001 on schedule later this year following certification of EASA airworthiness requirements for the Rolls-Royce Trent engines on the aircraft earlier this month.

The France headquartered aircraft and aerospace manufacturer said it had started “additional maturity studies” on lithium ion main batteries’ behaviour.

The findings of its own studies will take on board findings of the FAA/Boeing investigation currently underway in the United States.

The entire fleet of 49 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in operation worldwide to date has been grounded as a result of problems experienced with its main battery architecture, which incorporates lithium ion batteries.